Taking care of your tyres is very important, as this is the only contact between your vehicle and the road. Below I will run through the must do’s to keep you safe and stop you from facing prosecution.
Checking your tyre pressures is so important, having the correct tyre pressure will.
- Reduce your braking distance.
- Prolong the life of the tyre ensuring you get maximum tread wear.
- Enable you to see whether you have a puncture, getting this fixed quickly will limit the amount of damage caused when using the tyre underinflated.
- Taking five minutes when checking the tyre pressures, why not look at the condition of the tyre making sure you do not have any splits or crack in the sidewall of the tyre.
Doing the simple tasks above will maximise the life your tyres.
Spotting uneven tread wear.
Noticing uneven tread wear is an easy thing to do, this can tell you a lot about your vehicle and indicates if there is an issue. The biggest offender is simply the tracking, as vehicles get older and the roads become filled with pot holes more and more this take its toll on your vehicle. All this stress on the front of the car flexing the rubber bushes in the suspension system can put the tracking out. A slight adjustment will put everything back in order. The warning signs of miss aligned tracking is the tyres on the front will be showing signs of wear on both inside or outside edges. Correcting the wheel alignment after this has been spotted will not stop the tyres wearing in this way unfortunately, this part of the tyre will appear to wear more quickly due to this already having more wear pre tracking correction. We strongly advise that the tracking is checked after your new tyres are fitted to eliminate future wear problems, many company will offer a free tracking check including our self’s and charge a small fee if this needs adjusting.
Under inflated tyres, Can cause a common problem, which is regularly mistaken for tracking is the vehicle pulling to the left or right a simple pressure check can simply solve this. Tyres that are underinflated increase the wear on both shoulders of the tyre, what happens is the centre of the tyre becomes inverted and the tyres runs on both the shoulder resulting in bold shoulders and the tyre becoming illegal half way through its life.
Over inflation, over inflation has the reverse affect to the underinflated tyre, the centre of the will become raised resulting in centre tread wear and again not getting the life of the tyre.
Other offenders, Suspension problems this can produce a weird wear pattern which known as feathering, How to spot this; Pick a clean spot on the tyres (making sure there is no sharp objects) take your hand and run it across the tread from outside to inside and then back. If your vehicle is suffering from this, you will notice a big difference in how it feels. In one direction, it will feel normal and in the other, this will feel raised as if the tread is stood up slightly. This can indicate suspension issues.
Overall, tread depth!
It is quite surprising, drivers still think because there is still some tread visible on the tyre that must mean their legal! No this is not the case, in the UK the legal tread limit is a minimum of 1.6mm across the tread. Allowing your tyre to get to this point is not the best practice, as you will increase your chances of aquaplaning in wet weather due to surpassing the tyres design and ability. A very easy and cleaver way of checking your tread depth, is to take a 20p coin and put it in the main tread grooves and if the outer rim of the coin is covered by the tread you are legal and safe. Other ways of seeing if your tread limit is good, on the sidewall of the tyre were the tread meets the sidewall you will note (TWI) “Tread wear indicator” once you have found these letters which are very small, follow these up into the tread until you find a raised block in the main tread groove. This block should be below your tread if so then you are good to continue with your day, if the tread is level or the block as started to wear with the normal tread then their more likely illegal and could result in 3 points and a £1000 fine per illegal tyre.
To maximise your tread wear.
Depending on the drive wheels, front or rear wheel drive. The main drive tyres will wear out quicker than the other two. For example, a front wheel drive car will wear the front tyre quicker than the rears as the rears are pulled along, the fronts do all the pulling, the same if its rear wheels drive the rears do the pushing and the front just get pushed along. This can be evened out by rotating the tyre front to rear half way through there life. Halfway through there life? A tyre normally comes with 8mm of tread, millage depends on the driver, the car and the road conditions. To keep track simply check your tread depth regularly and once you are happy your half way through go and have the wheels swapped front to rear. Please note this will only be possible if your vehicle is fitted with the same size wheels and tyres front and rear.
Garage forecourt pressure gauges are not as precise as the ones used in a tyre depot, due to the abuse they get. On the plus side, you will not be charge in a tyre depot for checking your tyre pressures.
The majority of Van’s or Cars will display the correct tyre pressures in the driver’s doorjamb or inside the fuel flap.
Take a 20p coin, put it in the main tread grooves, and if the outer rim of the coin is covered by the tread you are legal and safe.
Legal tread depth is 1.6mm.
Keep safe, if you look after your tyre they will look after you.